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Home plate standoff


markdoc

Question

Catcher-Runner Standoff Leads to Brawl - College Baseball Case Play

What's the call?

Could the plate umpire have called the runner out for leaving his base path? Even though it is on his return to tag the plate, he goes way more than 3' away from a straight line from him to the plate to avoid a tag.

 

Or the catcher has to tag runner untill they get into the dugout and only then they are allowed to appeal at plate.
When can the catcher appeal and when must he tag him out?
 
and in this:

Batter Runner Retreats Toward Home Plate

Is he out immediately when he retreats toward home?

Once the batter has put the ball in play, he immediately becomes runner. His path towards first base establishes his base path in which he cannot go more than 3 feet outside of. In this case the fielderis trying to tag him out so If the runner retreats towards home plate and goes more than 3 feet, should he not be called out?

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30 minutes ago, markdoc said:

What's the call?

I believe it was ruled a double play.

31 minutes ago, markdoc said:

Could the plate umpire have called the runner out for leaving his base path?

No. The runner was returning to touch a missed HP, so he had no base path (no direct line from his position to his advance base). And, in general, umpires give leeway for this particular play.

 

32 minutes ago, markdoc said:

When can the catcher appeal and when must he tag him out?

In OBR, the current interpretation allows the fielder to tag the base at any time, whether or not the runner is attempting to return. I like this interp because it precludes this nonsense; I'm not sure of the current FED interp (which I seem to recall being the same as OBR). Based on this video, it would seem NCAA is different (or was in 2020).

The old J/R interp distinguished between "relaxed" and "unrelaxed" action, where the fielder could appeal by tagging the base if the action was relaxed—if the runner were not near the base and trying to return. This was superseded by a Wendelstedt interp from years ago.

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3 hours ago, markdoc said:

Batter Runner Retreats Toward Home Plate

Is he out immediately when he retreats toward home?

Once the batter has put the ball in play, he immediately becomes runner. His path towards first base establishes his base path in which he cannot go more than 3 feet outside of. In this case the fielderis trying to tag him out so If the runner retreats towards home plate and goes more than 3 feet, should he not be called out?

The base path is a straight line  - the runner may not move three feet perpendicular to the base path to avoid a tag; he may retreat if he wishes...as he retreats his base path is now a straight line from him to home plate.

In baseball, the batter/runner may retreat to home plate, once he reaches home plate he is out.

In softball, a batter/runner may not retreat to home plate, to avoid a tag, any distance (not 3 inches let alone 3 feet)...it is not considered "leaving the base path", it is treated like Interference - immediate dead ball, runner out, other runners return time of pitch.

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From the 2021 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual (section 5.42, p. 70):

OBR rule 5.09(b)(12) states that should a runner in scoring fail to touch home plate and continue on his way to the bench, he may be put out by the fielder touching home plate and appealing to the umpire for a decision. However, this rule applies only where a runner is on his way to the bench and the catcher would be required to chase him. It does not apply to the ordinary play where the runner misses the plate and then immediately makes an effort to touch the plate before being tagged. In that case, the runner must be tagged. In such cases, base path rules still apply to the runner (i.e., he may not run more than three feet from the "base path" between him and home plate.)

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In this case, i.e. missed homeplate, when the attempt is made can the runner back away again to avod the tag more then 3 feet or does the basepath end at the tag attempt point? So once the runner starts retreating, he's backed away from the basepath and is therefore out right? Or the runner can go as far away as he likes during a tag attampt or only before an attempt unless they enter dead ball territory?
is there a rule someone can quote/cite?
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4 hours ago, maven said:

 

In OBR, the current interpretation allows the fielder to tag the base at any time, whether or not the runner is attempting to return. I like this interp because it precludes this nonsense; I'm not sure of the current FED interp (which I seem to recall being the same as OBR). Based on this video, it would seem NCAA is different (or was in 2020).

The old J/R interp distinguished between "relaxed" and "unrelaxed" action, where the fielder could appeal by tagging the base if the action was relaxed—if the runner were not near the base and trying to return. This was superseded by a Wendelstedt interp from years ago.

 I am referring to only when a runner misses homeplate, I don't understand when the runner must be tagged and when the catcher can appeal.

If the catcher make an appeal and then the runner tries to retrun, is the appeal valid? What if the runner takes 4 or more steps but he does not enter in dugout so, in this moment, the catcher makes an appeal and immediately after the runner turns and tries to return to HP?

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Mr. markdoc, did you know that Close Call Sports did a second video about this play? In it all the relevant rules for all three major rule sets are discussed. I think all your questions are answered in that second video.

A question for you--Did you read my earlier post? I already gave you the OBR rule. In fact, so far I am the only one to cite a rule. I only cited OBR because you didn't ask for a specific rule set. The play in the video occurred in a college game but it seemed to me you weren't particularly interested in the NCAA rules.

The post you quoted said that OBR "allows the fielder to tag the base at any time, whether or not the runner is attempting to return." My post showed that is wrong. 

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The runner must make an immediate effort to return to the plate. If he does then a tag is necessary for the put out. The rule is there so the catcher doesn't have to chase a runner and leave the plate unattended.

You could see that is exactly the dilemma that faced the catcher in the video. A runner could be put out by appeal in all the "what if" scenarios you asked about because he did not immediately try to touch the plate after initially missing it.

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The ruleset: OBR, the NCAA is near the same, I suppose.

Rule 7.08(k) In running or sliding for home base, he fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to the base, when a fielder holds the ball in his hand, while touching home base, and appeals to the umpire for the decision. This rule applies only where runner is on his way to the bench and the catcher would be required to chase him. It does not apply to the ordinary play where the runner misses the plate and then immediately makes an effort to touch the plate before being tagged. In that case, runner must be tagged.

What if the runner takes 4-5 steps only to stop his momentum and then tries to touch home, in this case appeal or tag?

If the runner is going toward dugout but he changes his mind and tries to touch home immediately after the catcher can appeal? 

Or if the runner misses home and is on his way to the bench, after the catcher tries to chase him so he turns and tries to HP, can the catcher appeal or must he tag him out?

I really do not understand all the rule.

And is the runner out if the catcher, in this case he must tag him, tries to tag but the runner goes backward 5 feet away to avoid the tag?

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So you had the applicable rule all along. The rule number you gave means it's a Little League rule. The Little League rule book is based on OBR so what you posted is pretty much the rule I cited.

OBR reformatted and renumbered its rule book in 2015 but Little League didn't follow suit.

You really need to seek out Close Call Sports second video about this play. It does answer all your questions. It's available on YouTube under the title "Catcher-Runner Standoff Was Out of Line."

Someone else will have to explain the appeal question to you. I don't think I can help any further.

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I’ve also read the closecalls site but I’m more confused than before. There are only repeated verbatim rules but there is no real answer. 

In the comments below the confusion reigns supreme.

  1. out of basepath bang your out !!  Someone answered: That's what I'm thinking. The situation is over and no one can argue that he wasn't.
  2. The runner is clearly outside the three-foot running lane. In MLB, the runner is out. The NCAA rule is painfully vague, as there was an attempt to get back to the plate, although the video fails to show where the runner is in relation to the dugout. Long story short: Out. Out. I'm guessing blue wasn't sure what the heck was happening, so by delaying, he, albeit unintentionally, caused a needless melee.
  3. The word "immediately" in the 5.09(b)(12) comment and the subsequent MLBUM interpretation allows the umpire latitude. I can't be sure that the catcher made a proper appeal to allow that, though. But if he did, then the OOB out call should be made immediately. Allowing the runner to dance around the plate while his teammates advance without peril is making a mockery of the game and giving the offense an undue advantage. There is no reason I can see to allow the offense to benefit from free bases arising from one of their players missing a touch on home plate.Immediately means immediately. If the runner does not return immediately, the catcher, ball in hand, needs to step on home plate and appeal to the umpire for a ruling, to be given quickly so that the rest of the play can be dealt with equitably.
  4. Call the preceding runner out for interference by the on-deck batter? Call him out for a baseline violation (my choice, as he definitely left the basepath established when he overran home plate when he went behind the on-deck batter)? Let it go as it played out, but eject the catcher for smacking the first runner in the chest with the ball? Glad I quit doing this a long time ago. But it was fun to watch.
  5. Is there a base path in this situation?? As always, it's useful to read the full article before commenting.
    "MLB Umpire Manual Interpretation [Runner Misses Home Plate]: "In such cases, base path rules still apply to the runner."
    Therefore, once he misses the plate he remains legal so long as he does not go more than three feet away from that direct line back to home plate. Around the 20 second mark of the video we see the runner cross the camera's field of view, crossing the back edge of the dirt circle and in doing so pretty clearly moves three feet outside that base path directly back to home plate and therefore should have been called out at that point.

OBR 5.09(b)(1): "Any runner is out when—He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely."


OBR 5.09(b)(12): "In running or sliding for home base, he fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to the base, when a fielder holds the ball in his hand, while touching home base, and appeals to the umpire for the decision."

The attempt to return?


OBR 5.09(b)(12) Comment: "This rule applies only where runner is on his way to the bench and the catcher would be required to chase him. It does not apply to the ordinary play where the runner misses the plate and then immediately makes an effort to touch the plate before being tagged. In that case, runner must be tagged."

What if the runner is not on his way to the bench but he is simply trying to stop his run and, because of this, he moves a little away from the homeplate and only after a while he turns to return? If the cathcer appeals and then the runner turns to come back? If the catcher appeals just after the runner has turned around and is trying to return though R3 is far enough away?

16 hours ago, markdoc said:
  • What if the runner takes 4-5 steps only to stop his momentum and then tries to touch home, in this case appeal or tag?
  • If the runner is going toward dugout but he changes his mind and tries to touch home immediately after the catcher can appeal? Or immediately before the catcher made appeal?
  • Or if the runner misses home and is on his way to the bench, after the catcher tries to chase him so he turns and tries to HP, can the catcher appeal or must he tag him out? Or the catchers turns first and then the runner turns and tries to go to HP?
  • And is the runner out if the catcher, in this case he must tag him, tries to tag but the runner goes backward 5 feet away to avoid the tag?

How to answer to all these scenarios?

21 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

The base path is a straight line  - the runner may not move three feet perpendicular to the base path to avoid a tag; he may retreat if he wishes...as he retreats his base path is now a straight line from him to home plate.

In baseball, the batter/runner may retreat to home plate, once he reaches home plate he is out.

In softball, a batter/runner may not retreat to home plate, to avoid a tag, any distance (not 3 inches let alone 3 feet)...it is not considered "leaving the base path", it is treated like Interference - immediate dead ball, runner out, other runners return time of pitch.

In the rule we only have this:

He runs more than three feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely.

The base path rule does not say "to the left or right" it says "away from the path." Is backwards still away from a path?

So the runner can retreat back to avoid a tag more than 3' between the bases, even between home and first base, but, source Umpiring the "Skunk in the Outfield" play, in this play: If a defensive player, with the ball, starts toward the runner, be particularly observant of where the runner goes.  If he moves deeper into the outfield, you may well have an ‘out of the baseline” violation.  Be prepared to call it………and explain it to the offensive coach. [...] Remember that the runner must move directly toward either first or second base, not in a line between the two defensive players or deeper into the outfield. (i.e. backward in basepath).

In this particular play, going backwards from basepath means being out. So backwards is not legal. Why?

In the case of a rundown between HP and 1B, I know it’s a weird thing but this is just to explore and better understand the rule, the batter/runner can, however, stop or retreat to avoid being tagged out even more than three feet, towards HP. The only limit is not to touch HP. So backwards is legal.

In the case of a runner, that oversteps missing homeplate, but who tries to return and who must be tagged, if the runner backs away  HP more then three feet to avoid the tag, is it ok? So backwards is legal or not? If this was legal the runner could lure the catcher.

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Here's something that might help you. In 2017 OBR changed/clarified its interpretation of the term "tag attempt."

A fielder no longer has to have ball in glove or hand extended toward the runner to restrict his baseline. A fielder's movement toward the runner is sufficient.

I, too, have read the "skunk in the outfield" blog analysis. The reminder that a runner must move directly toward a base is a good one. The Jaksa/Roder manual puts it this way, "A runner must prove by his actions and the way he positions himself that his intent is to reach a base safely (and to stay on the base if it cannot be overrun)."

I don't think running away (backward) from the base meets that requirement.

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Here is an additional thought, not codified, on the "retreat" move.  I cannot remember if this came up here or on another forum.

When we are discussing the base path and a tag attempt between two AVAILABLE bases (i.e., 1st and 2nd, 2nd and 3rd, 3rd and home), we allow for the "retreat move" because it is a viable move.  The runner is able to go forward or backward to reach safety at either base.  There is a place to retreat to.  His base path could change direction, and thus the base we are considering, at any point.  (Sure, it may cause some other issues, such as two runners at a bag, but those are not part of what we need to consider in this case.)

When we are discussing a runner missing home plate, there is only ONE direction the runner can legally advance in: towards home plate.  There is no safety on the opposite end that he can retreat to, thus there is no available retreat.  Moving backwards more than the allotted base path allowance should be considered out of the base path in this case.

You may bring up the fact that OBR (unlike most softball codes, to acknowledge @beerguy55's correct statement), does NOT have a rule about the batter-runner "retreating" back towards home.  This is a very different play and should not use the base path rule.  Again, not a true retreat as he cannot be safe at home, but we also have the very viable play that the defense only needs to touch first base with the ball in hand, they are not required to tag the batter-runner at any point.  I'm not saying a "force" play (using that with air quotes for the batter-runner) removes the base path rule, but that the retreat is not viable as there is no point of safety on the other end.
 

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Here is the other video (thanks @Senor Azul)

As Maven said, in practice there is latitude given for out of baseline at home plate. The video goes into that by contrasting it with an MLB play.

That said, though I agree with how to umpire the plays, it's MSU to get to a solution that feels fair. The 3 foot text is very clear. The majority of the time (to be generous), any runner going past HP will be >3 feet.

I like how this is often called in practice but, at the same time, we need to admit when we're interpreting (ignoring?) the rules.

 

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@Velho let me know if I am ignoring something in the logic I provided.

My biggest knock on many interpretations is that they are incomplete, unexplained, and seem to rely on the interpreter's wants (or position) more than a logically laid out interpretation using rules.  If I am missing something, let me know so I can rework it.

Passing the base does not remove or exceed three feet, as the three feet is always a direct line between the runner and the base.  If the runner passes the base, the line is redrawn just as it is if he changes his angle towards the base.  He cannot "outrun" the line, but he can deviate from it by going 180 degrees away from safety.  

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FWIW, I wasn't aiming anything at you (or anyone on here).

I like how these are being enforced (or should have been in the NCAA play w/ runner called out) but the rules, as written, don't support it, for example, I think Ichiro exceeded the 3 foot base path margin between himself and HP when the tag attempt started.

Re: the baseline extends forever ("around the world like a football goal line" - if that's what you meant). Not sure I buy that is what the rules say but I don't want to argue it (my Italian is too poor). 

Regardless, I think we're on the same page (as usual in these things):

3 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

My biggest knock on many interpretations is that they are incomplete, unexplained, and seem to rely on the interpreter's wants (or position) more than a logically laid out interpretation using rules.  If I am missing something, let me know so I can rework it.

Yeppers. That's it.

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15 hours ago, Velho said:

Here is the other video (thanks @Senor Azul)

As Maven said, in practice there is latitude given for out of baseline at home plate. The video goes into that by contrasting it with an MLB play.

That said, though I agree with how to umpire the plays, it's MSU to get to a solution that feels fair. The 3 foot text is very clear. The majority of the time (to be generous), any runner going past HP will be >3 feet.

I like how this is often called in practice but, at the same time, we need to admit when we're interpreting (ignoring?) the rules.

 

The video is very good but so many questions remains. 
  • So if the cathcer tries to tag the runner, obviously, can’t move more than three feet to the right or left, but, in this case of missed homeplate, could the runner avoid the tag by going back over three feet or is out?
  • But in this case, i.e. the video, the runner does not return immediately so why does the catcher not immediately appeal or he couldn't?
  • What if the runner takes 4-5 steps only to stop his momentum and then tries to touch home, in this case appeal or tag?
  • If the runner is going toward dugout but he changes his mind and tries to touch home immediately after the catcher can appeal? Or immediately before the catcher made appeal?
  • Or if the runner misses home and is on his way to the bench, after the catcher tries to chase him so he turns and tries to HP, can the catcher appeal or must he tag him out? Or the catchers turns first and then the runner turns and tries to go to HP?
  • And is the runner out if the catcher, in this case he must tag him, tries to tag but the runner goes backward 5 feet away to avoid the tag?
  • What if the catcher doesn't have the ball to make appeal so the runner turns and tries to get back only after 5 feet. And only then the catcher fields the ball and tries to appeal?
These scenarios remain unanswered? I know they are absolutely rare situations but this is just to explore and better understand the rule.
 
 
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If I had a umpire to consult, I certainly wouldn’t have come here for help. We are just reasoning about two situations, one of which has already been resolved, i.e. back to HP to avoid the tag.
Now the point of the matter is that the rule in question, as far as I know, is unclear and does not seem to cover all situations. I’m also trying to use closecalls video as an archetype for other similar situations, that I tried to imagine and list above. I agree with The man in blue that the rules are too vague and ill-explained at times.
The idea of two basepaths between bases, mentioned above, would be the most logical but I don't know if it has a solid basis in the rules.
This theory would explain the straight basepath between bases and the angular basepath in skunk play. The other side of the coin is that this theory would prohibit retreating back from the HP more than 3 feet to avoid a tag, obviously only when a tag attempt occurs and it would also prohibit retreating toward HP to avoid being tagged by 1B more than three feet toward HP, but the latter would be legal.
 
Anyway in the video the catcher, after a while, could not simply steps on HP and appeal? Why does he not do this? Is he confused or are the rules preventing him to do so?
I’ve also read this that could help us but could also complicate the situation:
8.2.2 Situation M:  With R2, B2 hits a grounder to left field. R2 touches third base but misses the plate in attempting to score. F7 having thrown home, F2 steps on the missed base to retire R2 and throws to F6 in an attempt to put out B2:  (a) before R2 attempts to return home; or (b) after R2 attempts to return to touch home plate. RULING:  (a) Upon proper defensive appeal, R2 would be ruled out. (b) Since R2 initiated action prior to the defense touching the plate, R2 must be tagged to record the out. R2 may legally return to touch home if he has not touched the steps of the dugout and if a subsequent runner has not yet scored.
 
So if the runner starts to return to HP before the appeal has taken place then should the catcher only tag him out? So the runner can may legally return to touch only until if he has not touched the steps of the dugout? Until then he can turn and go back and would any appeals no longer be valids? Put simply, when does the catcher lose his right to appeal? What do actions made by the catcher or by the runner make either the appeal or the tag compulsory?
23 hours ago, markdoc said:
The video is very good but so many questions remains. 
  • So if the cathcer tries to tag the runner, obviously, can’t move more than three feet to the right or left, but, in this case of missed homeplate, could the runner avoid the tag by going back over three feet or is out?
  • But in this case, i.e. the video, the runner does not return immediately so why does the catcher not immediately appeal or he couldn't?
  • What if the runner takes 4-5 steps only to stop his momentum and then tries to touch home, in this case appeal or tag?
  • If the runner is going toward dugout but he changes his mind and tries to touch home immediately after the catcher can appeal? Or immediately before the catcher made appeal?
  • Or if the runner misses home and is on his way to the bench, after the catcher tries to chase him so he turns and tries to HP, can the catcher appeal or must he tag him out? Or the catchers turns first and then the runner turns and tries to go to HP?
  • And is the runner out if the catcher, in this case he must tag him, tries to tag but the runner goes backward 5 feet away to avoid the tag?
  • What if the catcher doesn't have the ball to make appeal so the runner turns and tries to get back only after 5 feet. And only then the catcher fields the ball and tries to appeal?
These scenarios remain unanswered? I know they are absolutely rare situations but this is just to explore and better understand the rule.
 
 

In light of this, I venture to respond to my situations, well aware that evidently I will fail.

  1. I think the runner can go back, even more than 3feet, to avoid a tag, but I don't know if there is a limit or the runner can back where ever he likes as long as he doesn't enter dead ball territory and doesn't veer more then 3 feet to the left or to the right of the base path for the purpose of avoiding a tag.
  2. The runner starts to go back before the catcher made any appeal, so I think there’s only one option left: tag him out.
  3. I think he can.
  4. Tagging him out not appeal.
  5. No, he doesn't, I suppose.
  6. No, he can't anymore.
But still I hope that someone more experienced than me will respond to these situations.

 

If we read Situation M 8.2.2 then we can understand that if the runner tries to go back before the appeal happens then the appeal will not be enough. Am I wrong? Is it not the case that there are no official answers? I’m just trying to figure out what the rule is, that’s all.
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On 11/5/2023 at 12:08 AM, Velho said:

FWIW, I wasn't aiming anything at you (or anyone on here).

Re: the baseline extends forever ("around the world like a football goal line" - if that's what you meant). Not sure I buy that is what the rules say but I don't want to argue it (my Italian is too poor). 

Regardless, I think we're on the same page (as usual in these things):

Yeppers. That's it.

 

We are.  I didn't think you were, but I wanted to make it clear that I want to know when I overlook things.  My thoughts aren't always popular, but I believe them to be logical by the written rule book!

As far as the line extending, no, I am saying the exact opposite.  It isn't even actually a line, it is a line segment with definitive points on each end of it: the runner is one point and the base is the other.  This also supports my claim that retreating backwards can, in some circumstances, be considered deviating from the base path.

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10 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

 

We are.  I didn't think you were, but I wanted to make it clear that I want to know when I overlook things.  My thoughts aren't always popular, but I believe them to be logical by the written rule book!

As far as the line extending, no, I am saying the exact opposite.  It isn't even actually a line, it is a line segment with definitive points on each end of it: the runner is one point and the base is the other.  This also supports my claim that retreating backwards can, in some circumstances, be considered deviating from the base path.

Right, this distinction between finite or infinite basepath is killing me, I really don’t understand anything anymore.

So during a tag attempt on a runner who missed the homeplate, could the runner be out if he retires back from his current position more than 3 feet to avoid the tag?

Also why does, in this case, the catcher chase him and then touche him, could he not simply step on the plate and appeal?

Nationals Lose Run When Marlins Appeal CJ Abrams Failed

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11 hours ago, The Man in Blue said:

As far as the line extending, no, I am saying the exact opposite.  It isn't even actually a line, it is a line segment with definitive points on each end of it: the runner is one point and the base is the other.  This also supports my claim that retreating backwards can, in some circumstances, be considered deviating from the base path.

I tend to agree.   For me, if a runner is somewhere between first and second, but let's say not directly between the bases...maybe 5 feet towards the outfield, he has two real choices.  At time of tag attempt his basepath is between him and second base.  If he were to retreat, then his basepath should be between him and first base.  (as opposed to an infinite line)...so if he moves three feet backwards, he is deviating three feet from his path to first base (IMO).

Between first and home is similar, and easier to administer I think, as he's typically going to be on or close to the line anyway...his path is either to first, or to home, so he's really not going to deviate if he goes straight back to the plate.   And it doesn't really matter...the defense simply needs to touch first base.  This would be no different on a b/r that overruns first base, but misses it...he can run to the warning track for all I care because F3 just needs to touch first base.

As far as when he misses home plate, and is between the plate and the dugout...I'd take a different tact, and not worry about basepath if he's not moving to the plate.  If he retreats to the dugout he's abandoned running the bases, not much different than the batter leaving the dirt around the plate on a U3K.

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